Dowry: Further drought assistence required
Statement By Cobus Dowry Minister Of Agriculture In The Western Cape
Visit to Drought Areas - Further Drought Assistance Required
I am today in the Swartland area to visit some of the farms that have been affected by the ongoing drought. The visit today is to interact with farmers and to ascertain what the situation is.
The drought situation in the Western Cape is serious in the following regions: Murraysburg, Beaufort West, Prince Albert, Laingsburg, Touwsrivier, Ceres Karoo, Swartland, West Coast, Boland, Wuppertal / Ebenhaezer / Rietfontein, Clanwilliam and Vredendal. The Koperfontein/Swartland area and the area North of Piketberg have recently been added to the list for draught assistance.
The drought situation is the result of a previous dry winter rain season and an extremely long and hot summer. If the rainfall situation does not improve soon the wheat farmers and farmers dependant on grazing will, for the consecutive season, be faced by unmanageable circumstances. We are grateful for the rains which brought temporary relief, but the situation has not improved.
The emerging farmers in these areas are especially hard hit by the drought and its ramifications. Even at this stage there are farmers who have to transport water for both household use and stock watering purposes. It is clear that the current drought assistance scheme will have to be adapted to facilitate higher levels of service delivery in these areas. Since February 2004 an amount of R11 million were made available to assist with drought relief and last week discussions were held with the National Department of Agriculture to increase assistance. A detailed presentation for submission to the National Department of Agriculture for urgent consideration was also submitted.
The farmers this morning appreciated my visit to the area and as Minister for Agriculture I have once again reiterated that agriculture is extremely important to this province and we will give the situation the necessary attention it deserves.
Enquiries: Alie vanJaarsveld
082 777 7262